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Secularism Leads to Superstition. Or Something.

The Catholic Church recently held a conference to train more than 200 priests to become exorcists so they can cast out non-existent demons from people who need genuine psychological help. Apparently there’s been a big surge in possession and, wouldn’t you know it, it’s all the fault of secularism.

Giuseppe Ferrari, from GRIS, a Catholic research group that organised the conference, said there was an ever growing need for priests to be trained to perform exorcisms because of the increasing number of lay people tempted to dabble in black magic, paganism and the occult.

“We live in a disenchanted society, a secularised world that thought it was being emancipated, but where religion is being thrown out, the window is being opened to superstition and irrationality,” said Mr Ferrari.

*headdesk* Seriously, a guy who believes in talking snakes, burning bushes and that praying over a cracker magically turns it into the body of Jesus is claiming that not believing such things leads to superstition and irrationality. You simply can’t make this shit up.

Comments

  1. Pierce R. Butler says

    … GRIS, a Catholic research group …

    Which has only half the power of the true gris-gris, so no wonder they have to scramble to catch up.

    Maybe they should change the name to Voo.

  2. John Pieret says

    I think what they mean by “secularism” is “stopped going to church.” And not being in church means that instead of getting the True Superstitions Spiritual Wisdom, you may go out and become involved in the False Spiritual Wisdom Superstitions.

  3. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    Diby brings his own brand of high-grade idiocy. Tell me, Diby, from what height were you dropped on your head as a baby?

  4. karmacat says

    Does he really believe in “black magic” or is he trying to just lure people back to church? If black magic were real, I would imagine someone would making Ferrari’s head spin around or better yet turn him into a race car. He would be much more useful as a car

  5. observer says

    To be fair, as a Catholic he almost certainly doesn’t believe in burning bushes and talking snakes. The cracker thing is another matter. Even more frightening, he apparently believes in the literal existence of demons. Nope, no superstition there.

  6. says

    I love talking to people like this. I’m the closest thing they will ever meet that comes close to a demon.
    “Tourette’s syndrome: from demonic possession and psychoanalysis to the discovery of gene.”
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22836463
    …and I take full rhetorical advantage of the fact when I can. It’s fun tearing their social assumptions into pieces while “whispering in the crowds” and other things historically blamed on demons.

  7. says

    @ Mr.Diby StillCertainlyObjects 2

    So if you are so well versed in recognizing reason, perhaps you can inform us poor ignorant folks of your reason for coming to such a conclusion?

  8. Mr.Diby StillCertainlyObjects says

    Of course I believe in demons. Jesus Christ believed in demons. Scalia believes in demons, and he’s much smarter than you are.

  9. says

    It is not rational to appeal to authorities that one’s audience does not accept. It is rational to skip right to the stuff that informs the opinion of the authorities. Your reasoning skills seem sub-par.

  10. says

    He’s right. Secularists will believe anything. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go to the overpass to pray to a water stain that looks like the Virgin Mary.

  11. steve78b says

    Mr Modus….. I’m sorry but that water stain is from my weak bladder …. but I was saying… “Oh Jesus” at the time.

    Steve in OK

  12. dhall says

    Mr. Diby has been banned by PZ a couple of times already. Not sure I’d pay any attention to him.

  13. D. C. Sessions says

    I think Dibby may be giving Modus some competition. Different style, though — instead of over-the-top, Dibby seems to be going for deadpan Poe.

  14. felidae says

    People we once called prophets, seers, mystics and demonically possessed are now called bipolar, schizophrenic, epileptic and sufferers from other brain disorders

  15. Pen says

    I suppose it would be too much to ask the Catholic church for any evidence wouldn’t it? Because sociologically, it would be kind of interesting if true. What could they be referring to? Are an increased number of people really going around trying to cast spells? Do they really call in Catholic priests when their spells don’t work out? Wouldn’t a witch more experienced in the art of failure be a better choice?

    And what does it mean by ‘lay people’ a term that traditionally applied to the flock of non-ordained Catholics and clearly wouldn’t be applicable to people who’ve quit that religion to become secular witches (whatever that means). In using that term, they’re staking a territorial claim to people who might not be anything to do with them any more.

  16. Mobius says

    *headdesk* Seriously, a guy who believes in talking snakes, burning bushes and that praying over a cracker magically turns it into the body of Jesus is claiming that not believing such things leads to superstition and irrationality.

    Yes, I agree. That is one serious moment.

    Perhaps this guy is deserving of a Bryan Fisher award?

    BTW…the new Jesus & Mo is about this…

    http://www.jesusandmo.net/strips/2014-05-21.png

  17. dannorth says

    “We live in a disenchanted society, a secularised world that thought it was being emancipated, but where religion is being thrown out, the window is being opened to OTHER superstitions and irrationalities,” said Mr Ferrari.

    Fixed it for you.

  18. thebookofdave says

    where religion is being thrown out, the window is being opened to superstition and irrationality

    Mr. Ferrari was accidentally correct in this comment, although exorcism is no remedy for irrationality. Abandoning religion leaves an empty space. A void that, without developing critical thinking skills, will inevitably be filled with quantum mysticism, alt-med woo, and other credulous thinking. Or a demon.

  19. escuerd says

    Catholics have their own special definition of “superstition”. They define it as anything that causes religious feelings to deviate from the true god.

    I.e. they basically acknowledge that superstition and religion basically involve the same kind of thought process and behavior. They don’t even necessarily believe that practices they regard as superstitious don’t work. They just use the term superstition to mean mistaking one supernatural cause for another.

  20. Matt G says

    So, rational thinking leads to superstition. Got it. Wait, what? Do these clowns expect us to take them seriously?

  21. says

    What’s the matter Mr.Diby? Don’t want to talk to my Demon? He says hello!

    In all seriousness it is like another presence so I can totally understand why history did what it did. But when you read about the underlying neurobiology it’s all pretty sensible. You have internal programming for all your habits and learned responses. Physical, social, intellectual, etc. All those responses are supposed to be locked up until you are presented with the right percept. If the brakes are not working quite right things can get unlocked inappropriately and pop up without warning. It’s even fun to play with at this point.

  22. jonathangray says

    @Brony

    I believe the Church’s exorcism regulations emphasise the importance of distinguishing between victims of demonic influence and nutters.

    (Of course, just because you’re nuts doesn’t mean you’re not under demonic influence.)

  23. anubisprime says

    It is the age old deep seated fear that has haunted the catholic scam since its inception and practice over 2000 yrs ago.
    They planned, initiated and executed an ambitious ploy to infiltrate, coerce and subjugate the myriads of lesser superstitions and beliefs that were part and parcel of a geographically diverse and unenlightened world over two millennium ago.

    They spent time, cash and effort, cultivating the supernatural to fit their version, they invented the theology, to give it some spurious gravitas, and invoked the draconian rules by which they can control a populace, wherever they could find a populace that was prone to the ‘ irrational’ and ‘supernatural’ in their culture.

    They encourage the fear of the things that go bump in the night, and they offer the solution…like a special unrepeatable offer that gave a package of survival incantations and techniques and only but only if all was subject to the ’cause’…the church.

    You had to believe, you had to serve the interests of the ‘faith’ or you would die in agony…and so would your children.

    Such a sweet and inscrutable Gordian knot of fear, retribution and salvation.

    They absorbed all such boogety woogety ‘beliefs’ into their own image they played substitution and switch and bait and over time twisted the indigenous belief systems they found into their own preferred delusion, which was a structure that elevated the priests to over all control of that society and hence the church in Rome and could exert their political ideology in the governing authority of that country…they grew powerful and rich and were able to exploit and usurp local traditions and ideas and claim greater glory to god…and by default, cos god failed to appear to receive the kudos, to Rome who promised to pass them on.

    And so it was and is…except it is an emerging phenomenon that has caught their attention.

    At one time they could eradicate it by threat and sword, they could denigrate and lie about it, and they could ‘demonize’ it…they equated it with the things that go bump in the night and they promoted the self policing in the ‘congregation’ to remain vigilant and report all transgressions of doctrine or challenges to the status quo, cos surely that kind of attitude was an abomination to the ‘lawd’ ….

    But now it has all changed and it is a veritable crisis, all of a sudden from the bumbling along of the last 70’odd years in an ever technologically advancing society that is the modern world, all religions are feelong the steely inevitability of human rationalism…real genuine and sober rationalism encroaching on their patch and scam,and not fleeing in their presence.

    This abomination now has walked up to them proudly and head butted the fuckers…and they are terrified.

    What do they do ?, they return to their roots, they invoke the demons and ghoul’s and things that go bump in the night, they pretend an answer by invoking exorcism, and claiming it is a last ditch defence in war, well it is in a way but it it is not the war they are bleating about it is a far deeper and more catastrophic one,,,it is a war for their power and position in the world. after all it worked last time, why not this time….?

    They overlook one pertinent point, they do not hold a monopoly on peoples lives any-more, what they claim can be easily debunked by books, experience and education with of course teh inta’tubes always available and in the background to life… and ya can’t roller skate in a buffalo herd.

  24. dingojack says

    If the secular world is ‘disenchanted’ wouldn’t that mean the world no-longer lives under enchantment (that is, it is rooted firmly in reality)?
    This is what RCC fears*.
    Dingo
    ——-
    * oh, and a older, dwindling flock to shake-down and/or sexually assault

  25. dingojack says

    Jon-Jon – “I believe the Church’s exorcism regulations emphasise the importance of distinguishing between victims of demonic influence and nutters</I"

    YOU might believe that, shame THEY don't.

    Dingo

  26. jonathangray says

    anubisprime:

    They planned, initiated and executed an ambitious ploy to infiltrate, coerce and subjugate the myriads of lesser superstitions and beliefs that were part and parcel of a geographically diverse and unenlightened world over two millennium ago

    I thought that was the Illuminati?

    the steely inevitability of human rationalism

    Forward!

  27. anubisprime says

    jonathangray @36

    I thought that was the Illuminati?

    It IS in all regards exactly that. the illuminati, and like all religions they have little regard for using blatant projection.

    The ‘illuminati’ speel it is so handy to use in a bid to generate fear and hysteria in their victims…to invoke such paranoia all they have to do is state an obvious… and nothing works as half as well as a near truth if it serves a purpose.

    That is why they can darkly hint at a magisterium that rules the world…because at one time they did, it is their autobiography.!

  28. says

    Ed:

    When the organizers of the training were putting course materials together, did they include a schedule of services/fees, er, “offerings” for the exorcisms?”Cuz, whatever else might be going on, JESUS gotz to have teh Benjamins.

  29. fmitchell says

    I suspect they’re merely paraphrasing a misquotation of G. K. Chesterton: “When a man stops believing in God he doesn’t then believe in nothing, he believes anything.” Because if a Catholic author said something vaguely like it, it must be true.

    In all fairness, after I gave up Catholicism for Lent I spent a few years looking into various Eastern and esoteric religions. Then I realized they were just as unfounded, and settled into a comfortable atheism-in-all-but-name.

  30. Matt G says

    @38 democommie- and if this new (recycled, actually) business doesn’t take off, they could start offering a free Jesus toaster with each exorcism, or maybe a cast-one-demon-get-another-cast-for half-price deal.

  31. says

    @jonathangray 32

    Basically what dingojack said. Even if it’s not mentally ill persons being associated with demon possession they are still scrabbling for otherworldly explanations for human problems that will take that much longer to solve because they can’t let go of the infantile aspects of our history. Sure their fee fees might get better, but whatever underlying problems exist will either remain, be ignored or de-emphasized to let the group save face, solved later by methods actually based on reality and the credit given to magic, or solved by methods based on reality later than should have been necessary.

    I don’t mind LARPing but if I tried to use it to solve real problems I really would be crazy.

  32. Kermit Sansoo says

    Brony: @ Mr.Diby StillCertainlyObjects 2

    So if you are so well versed in recognizing reason, perhaps you can inform us poor ignorant folks of your reason for coming to such a conclusion?
    .
    Don’t be greedy, Brony, he’s already listed all the reasons he could think of.

  33. Dain Waris says

    Apparently the relationship between the Catholic church’s disparagement of secularism and casting spells goes back a long way. The incantation people sometimes hear (and one that shows up prominently in Humperdinck’s opera “Hansel and Gretel)–“Hocus Pocus,”– originated with the Latin words in the Catholic Mass, Hoc est corpus meum “This is my body.” According to the Online Etymology Dictionary, “The first to make this speculation on its origin apparently was English prelate John Tillotson (1630-1694).” So the tendency towards rationalism and the eschewing of superstition has been under way for quite a while.

  34. says

    How anyone can believe this crap is beyond so many of us. They not only create the son of god, terrorize people with burning in hell, sell death insurance that if you cant collect not anything you can do

    Then they come up with their magic like the devil, exorcisms etc

    Its just another example of mankinds believing what they are told, and doing what theya re told to do. Tthat includes things like the organized mass murder called war,often in the name of god

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